SALADO — Locked in an old-fashioned nail-biter, the Salado girls soccer team fell 1-0 to Wimberley in the sixth annual Salado Lady Eagle Classic title game on Saturday afternoon.
After a scoreless first half, the Lady Texans found the bottom of the next with 16 minutes remaining. On a corner kick, Wimberley middle forward Madalyn Riser kicked ahead to Ella Riser on the right side of the goal for the only score in the game.
Both teams had several scoring opportunities. Wimberley outshot Salado (4-3-1) 16-11 in the contest.
Lady Eagles head coach Michael Goos knows playing a team like Wimberley will only help his squad later on in the season.
“I knew this was going to be a battle coming in, because Wimberley is a very senior-laden team, and they have some very talented players,” he said.
“It was a great goal they scored. We had our chances, but we just couldn’t seem to get the ball in the net.”
Salado goalkeeper Danielle McDaniel, also a member of the Lady Eagles basketball team, gave her team a fighting chance all game. The junior made several tremendous stops down the stretch to keep the game tight.
The Lady Eagles’ best scoring threat came in the second half with the game still scoreless. Freshman Madison Spradlin passed to junior Rylie Stewart. who appeared to have a breakaway opportunity. But as she headed to the goal, the ball and the goalkeeper met at the same time, nullifying the scoring attempt.
Salado and Wimberley (7-1-2) have had quite the history lately, as both programs met twice last year. The Lady Eagles fell to the Lady Texans last year in the Salado Eagle Classic, but ended Wimberley’s season in the playoffs on the way to the state semifinals.
Despite the loss Saturday, the Lady Eagles picked up two wins during the tournament over two quality 4A programs, and showed they can compete toe-to- toe with one of the state’s most experienced teams.
“We lost a lot of really talented girls from last year’s team, but this team works really hard and bonds well together,” said Salado senior captain Kristin Crouch. “I think we will do really good this year, because we really connect as a team, and it’s starting to show on the field.”
Goos admired the play from his whole team, but admitted he got great production from several players such as forward Tyler Pierce, Annie Ewton, Reagan Morreale, Olivia Sula, Rebecca Gonzales, Crouch and Brileigh Cole, who have really stepped up their games.
“Pretty much the girls that are stepping on the field are asked to play 70 to 80 minutes a game. It takes a while to get used to those kind of minutes, but they are playing great,” Goos said.
As district play begins next week, Goos believed the weekend was a success, and learned a lot about his team that he hopes they can carry into district play.
“One of the biggest things I took away from these three games is that we can play together. Each one of these games is important, and that’s what we talked about, but really, in the grand scheme of things, the upcoming district games are the ones that matter,” Goos said.
“It’s about getting better each game. We will go in and watch film and correct our mistakes before the games really start to count.”
The Lady Eagles return to action Friday evening as they open up District 25-4A action at Florence.
- Wimberley 1, Salado 0
- Liberty Hill 7, Pleasanton 0
- Ellison 6, Robinson 0